Arnold Zweig

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Zweig, Arnold


Born Nov. 10, 1887, in Gross-Glogau, (now Głogów, Polish People’s Republic); died Nov. 26, 1968, in Berlin. (German Democratic Republic). German writer and public figure.

Zweig was a deputy to the People’s Chamber of the legislature of the German Democratic Republic from 1949 to 1967. He was president of the German Academy of Arts from 1950 to 1953, and he was a member of the World Peace Council. He served in World War I. After 1933, Zweig lived abroad, in Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, France, and Palestine; he returned to Berlin in 1948.

Zweig achieved his first successes as a writer with the novella Notes About the Klopfer Family (1911), the novel Claudia (1912; Russian translation, 1923), which developed the theme of creativity and the power of money, and the play Ritual Murder in Hungary (1914; Heinrich von Kleist Prize, 1915). A subtlety of psychological analysis is characteristic of Zweig’s early works, which are aimed at a small, select readership. Contemporary problems are frequently interpreted in an abstract and timeless context. After World War I, Zweig introduced important contemporary themes into his work. In 1927 he published the novel The Case of Sergeant Grischa (in Russian translation, Tragediia untera Grishi, 1928), which formed the basis of his lifelong work, the epic cycle about World War I The Great War of the White Man. The cycle begins with the novel The Time Is Ripe (1957), which covers the period from summer 1913 to spring 1915. Young Woman of 1914 (1931) and Education Before Verdun (1935) bring the action up to March 1917, chronologically just before The Case of Sergeant Grischa. Crowning of a King (1937), Armistice (1954), and the unfinished novel The Ice Breaks Up tell about the end of the war and the November Revolution of 1918. Zweig’s descriptions of the course of military events and the life of various social classes are historically accurate. His most important works written abroad include the novel The Axe of Wandsbeck (published 1943 in Hebrew; translated from a German manuscript), the main theme of which is the moral disintegration of Hitler’s regime and the denunciation of the petit bourgeois social environment that laid the way for fascism. In the novel The Dream Is Costly (1962), Zweig discloses the difficult process by which the German intelligentsia recognized its responsibility for what happened in the fascist period.

Zweig was awarded the National Prize of the German Democratic Republic in 1950. He received the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace Among Nations in 1958.


Ausgewählte Werke in Einzelausgaben, vols. 1–16. Berlin, 1957–67.
In Russian translation:
Vospitaniepod Verdenom. Moscow, 1954.
Zatish’e. Moscow, 1959.
Raduga. Moscow, 1960.
Spor ob untere Grishe. Moscow, 1961.


Toper, P. Arnol’d Tsveig. Moscow, 1960.
Arnol’d Tsveig: Biobibliografichiskii ukazatel’. Moscow, 1961.
Hilscher, E. Arnold Zweig. Berlin, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
As Scholem later noted, he had in mind another German intellectual who came to Palestine: Arnold Zweig. Zweig's biography demonstrated for Scholem what happened when one drifted away from this demanding social organism of Zionist society.
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The film is an adaptation of Arnold Zweig's novel of the same name, set in 1934, and depicts the story of a local butcher, Albert Teetjen, who accepts money from the Nazis to serve as a public executioner, and the moral issues which eventually haunt him, driving him to a ruinous end.
The strong feelings he felt about it appear in a striking form in a letter from October 1916 to his fiancee Felice Bauer, which contains a moving reference to a theatrical drama, Ritual Murder in Hungary (Berlin 1914), by the Jewish German writer Arnold Zweig, dealing with the Tisza trial: "The other day I read 'Ritual Murder in Hungary' (Ritualmord in Ungarn) by Zweig; its supernatural scenes are as feeble as I would have expected from what I know of Zweig's work.
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The group comprised the German poet and dramatist Ernst Toller, the Austrian writer Arnold Zweig, the German novelist Leon Feuchtwanger, and the thirty-six-year-old Hungarian journalist, photographer and film-maker Stefan Lorant, former editor of the Munchener Illustrierte and the Weekly Illustrated.
His book includes a just and attractive appreciation of Tocqueville, Coustine, Arnold Zweig, and Turgeniev (so aptly contrasted with his contemporary, Karl Marx); a first-rate essay on Shakespeare's Macbeth (the best answer I know to Solzhenitsyn's claim that Shakespeare's evil ones were inferior to the lords of the gulag); and two essays on Islam that describe just how awful Islamic barbarism is and yet allow one to understand--as few other things do--the young barbarians, victims in France of state dependency and French contempt.